Although Dropbox and other cloud services have gotten us used to accessing our files anywhere from the cloud, somehow there is always that important file (or files) that you need that are not in your cloud-shared folder. Moreover, you likely do not sync many large files (such as media files) to Dropbox in order not to exceed your file storage limits, and therefore do not have remote access to them on demand. StoAmigo’s TackaCloud (for Windows, Mac) might be a way to remedy these issues by providing you with your own “Personal Cloud”, enabling you to selectively access an entire shared drive or folder on your PC without any size limitations, and uploading it only on demand. The only limitation: that your computer at home be switched on and online to upload or download from.
The other usage of course is to sending large files. Instead of using send-large-file services like WeTransfer or Jumpshare, you can simply share it from the TackaCloud’s web app. What’s really nice is that you can share folders and not just files, and changes in the content of a shared folder will be reflected/updated every time your collaborators access your link that you emailed them, and the person you share with does not have to have a StoAmigo/TackaCloud account. The drawback again (unlike send large file services) is that your computer has to be online or your collaborator will end up with an error message. The upside of this, of course, is simply added security: yes you have to be online but at least copies of your data are not residing on a server somewhere. Alternately if you don’t want this limitation you can simply move your files to the 5 GIGs of traditional free cloud storage also provided by StoAmigo/TackaCloud, and which is accessible via the same interface.
Please note that I use the terms TackaCloud and TackApp interchangeably in this post. They are the same thing. Also to clear things up a little bit: TackaCloud is a service provided by StoAmigo, a Dropbox-like cloud service that provides 5 gigs of free online storage. Installed on your PC or Mac (or Android/iOS), TackaCloud lets you access both your StoAmigo online storage as well as your folders shared via TackaCloud on your PC (again, if that PC happens to be online). It also enables you to move files easily from one to the other via drag and drop.
Below: list of PROs and CONs related to the TackApp service, and a comparison with BiTorrent Sync, which provides the same functionality, in the verdict section.
- A really great way to have access to anything on your PC, not just files saved in pre-determined folders. Of course this is provided that that PC, wherever it physically resides, is turned ON and is online. (Alternately, just call and tell someone at home to turn the computer on 😉 ).
- Send large files easily and more securely, given that remote copies of your files do not exists out in cyberspace.
- Your files are only uploaded when you request them, and your internet connection (and bandwidth) will not be constantly clogged (and used up) when new files are added or removed, during the course of working normally on your PC.
- Right click to share folders: actually this is a promised feature not available in the version I looked at, but promised by the developers.
- Also Promised:
- General Slowness: navigating and accessing my stuff was slow and plodding. This was true in general but seemed more so on Android than the web app. I’m hoping that this will be tweaked by it’s eventual release.
- Confusing user experience with the Android app: I know the mobile apps are still in development, but seriously this might be a deal breaker. For example In the Android app, it doesn’t seem possible to select multiple files/folders simultaneously to download on the device, forcing the user to download serially. A small tweak would make the app a lot more useable.
- I’m not really comfortable with sharing an entire drive, for security and privacy reasons, even with the promise that nothing is uploaded to a remote server. Much better to be able to specify many individual folders to share (which is promised).
- No cloud backup: because your files are not actually uploaded, TackApp is unlike normal cloud services in that it cannot be relied on as cloud backup service. This is not really a ‘con’ since the app never pretends to provide this, but I suppose it is an argument for using traditional cloud services in lieu of this sort of ‘person cloud’.
- The desktop app needs finessing: for example minimizing to tray, the option to start on boot, to store the password, to share more than one drive as mentioned (or folders on more than one drive), and of course the promised feature to be able to right click to share a folder.
This is a great app to have if you want to remote access to all your files on the go. I may be disinclined to leave it running at all times (or to leave my PC on at all times), but I know that if I do I can always ask my children wife to turn on both the PC and TackApp if I need to. It’s also a great way to share large files with people without uploading them to an external server.
Of course, I could not end a writeup of TackApp without comparing it to BitTorrent Sync, another app which does the same thing. Sync seems to perform better right now, in terms of speed of accessing and downloading files. This is perhaps because Sync handles a set of individual folders on demand rather than an entire drive, and perhaps because it uses the tried, tested (and optimized?) torrent network to do what it does. However, the free version of Sync limits the number of folders you can share, and doesn’t provide the 5 free gigs of cloud storage which TackApp does.
TackApp is still in beta, though, and the three items on my wish list for it are: (1) faster handling of files and better responsive; (2) a better mobile app experience, and (3) I would very much love to be able to share files on my device back to my PC from the same platform.
One thing for certain: I will be watching the development of this software with a lot of interest.